Branding campaigns aim to build positive associations in the consumer’s mind so that they will look favourably on a company or product in the future.
It’s an investment in future sales and very different from direct response advertising, where the whole focus is for the consumer to take action now.
Traditionally, these two types of advertising have been miles apart, but the web changes all that.
Why? Because after being exposed to any type of advertising, many consumers will immediately search online and they will expect to see relevant content.
Fail to provide it and the overall brand experience will be diminished. Brand marketers need to understand and indeed influence the keywords that people use in those searches.
Whether advertisers like it or not, offline branding campaigns that don’t build content to respond to the inevitable resulting searches will not only frustrate consumers, but will hand traffic on a plate to their competitors.
Seasonal marketing from Lurpak
I keep an eye out for what I think is interesting marketing and while driving over the Christmas holidays, I saw a poster ad for Lurpak, the Danish butter.
The poster showed a neat row of plastic food boxes containing Brussels sprouts, carrots, turkey slices and so on with the message, ‘Leftovers – we call them ingredients’.
The message was simple – use Lurpak and turn leftovers into ingredients for some special meals. A great piece of niche marketing delivered just at the right time when people were wondering what to do with their turkey leftovers.
However, this appeared to be solely a branding message – there was no call to action, no obvious step that people were encouraged to take next.
But branding ad or not, what many people will do after seeing such an ad is go to a search engine.
The words they use when they search are influenced by the advertising messages they see and the web pages that they find will influence the actions that they take. In effect, the web turns every branding campaign into a direct response campaign.
If you want your brand experience to be fulfilling, you’ve got to recognise this and provide content relevant to the searches that people do as a result of your brand promotion.
So you must anticipate their research and publish optimised copy BEFORE the campaign launches.
So how does Lurpak do on search results?
If I was in their position, I’d want to have a couple of objectives:
- To pick up the search traffic from people searching for keywords around leftovers.
- To pick up the search traffic that resulted from people being exposed to the poster.
The number of searches on leftovers is high – I found over 420 keywords all containing the word leftover, and these totalled over 4,500 searches a day.
Here are the top ones from my research:
turkey leftover recipes
leftover ham recipes
recipe for leftover turkey soup
leftover roast beef recipes
leftover mashed potatoes
leftover pork roast
leftover chicken recipes
leftover roast beef
leftover potato soup
reheating leftover turkey
leftover chicken casserole
using leftover lamb
leftover beef recipes
storage of leftovers
leftover steak recipes
I’m afraid Lurpak doesn’t come in the first 50 results for any of these terms.
That is bad for Lurpak in that it won’t pick that traffic up but even worse, the sites that do come top will benefit instead.
I then did a much more Lurpak specific search by typing ‘Lurpak leftovers’ into Google. The result was a page on a Lurpak minisite, www.lovelurpak.com, which showed me Arthur Braithwaite’s Leftover Turkey and Ham Pie.
Mini-sites are a tactic beloved of ad agencies and there can be many reasons why – not least of which is being able to act quickly. But I generally dislike them because they attract links that I would rather have pointing to my main site.
Now, what I was expecting was a whole bunch of recipes on using leftovers – what I got was one of fifteen recipes in an online cook book.
So the web pages didn’t fulfill the promise or interest that the poster ad had created.
I also looked around for the keywords they were using and was again a little disappointed with no real keywords around leftovers. I had the image of someone within Lurpak or their agency coming up with a really good piece of niche marketing but they either didn’t have approval, understanding or budget to fully exploit the online opportunity.
That’s a shame because the opportunities in optimising around leftovers offers are substantial.
So if I’d had the opportunity what would I have done?
1. I’d be clear about my objectives, which I mentioned earlier.
2. Be clear about what I wanted people to do when they arrived at the site:
- Read the recipes and get the message that Lurpak is the butter of choice for cooks.
- Register with their email address.
- Contribute by publishing their own recipes.
3. Have a strategic meeting with marketing, public relations, web design and SEO to make sure the campaign was coordinated. Make sure there was the budget to do it properly.
4. Do keyword research to find out what the main keywords were. Pick the top 10 or fifteen leftover categories and compile recipes for each of them.
5. Rather than just a generic Cook Book, I’d create a Leftover Cook Book with nothing other than leftover recipes. I’d include about 10 chapters each with a title like ‘Leftover Ham Recipes’ and ‘Tips on reheating leftover food’. I’d look to dominate the online space for leftover recipes.
6. Create facilities for user generated content. If search is done well and attracts a lot of traffic, many of those people can be encouraged to submit their own recipes and that content in turn generates additional search engine traffic. While the Lurpak site does invite recipes, they seem to be low in number – probably because traffic is low.
7. I’d quietly publish web pages optimised for leftover keywords and make sure they were indexed by Google before I’d go live with the advertising campaign.
8. I'd identify major link targets and conduct a public relations campaign.
The most important thing in this example is integrated marketing. Our customers are already on the web, searching about us whether we like it or not.
We can no longer fully control the ways they see or interact with our brands, but at least we can understand their search behaviour and make sure our brand messages get through offline and online.
Ken McGaffin is the chief marketing officer of Wordtracker.com .